8
   

Study: HIV has been in humans for 100 years

 
 
Reply Wed 1 Oct, 2008 11:43 pm
HIV has been in humans for 100 years, study says

Quote:
The AIDS virus has been circulating among people for about 100 years, decades longer than scientists had thought, a new study suggests.

Genetic analysis pushes the estimated origin of HIV back to between 1884 and 1924, with a more focused estimate at 1908.

Previously, scientists had estimated the origin at around 1930. AIDS was not recognized formally until 1981, when it got the attention of public health officials in the United States.
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 06:37 am
Yah, I heard that on NPR. I don't quite understand, though. If that's true, why were there no cases of AIDS diagnosed until the 1970s?
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 07:27 am
@Merry Andrew,
Presumably people were misdiagnosed... or diagnosed with whatever actually killed them (opportunistic infection) rather than the underlying problem (failed immune system).

Interesting...
0 Replies
 
patiodog
 
  7  
Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 07:42 am
@Merry Andrew,
Well, here's from the article...

Quote:
Experts say it is no surprise that HIV circulated in humans for about 70 years before being recognized. An infection usually takes years to produce obvious symptoms, a lag that can mask the role of the virus, and it would have infected relatively few Africans early in its spread, they said.


That seems very possible to me. Let's face it, mysterious lingering maladies are nothing new in sub-Saharan Africa, and early cases of AIDS may have been viewed as variations on one of the many known diseases there. There is a notion in western medicine (completely ignored in the writing of the show "House") -- "You are more likely to see an atypical presentation of a common disease than a typical presentation of a rare disease."

Also, the study of viral diseases progressed relatively little until the 1970s and 1980s, when elctron microscopy and the development of increasingly sophisticated molecular biology tools actually enabled close study of viruses. Prior to this, it was the really obvious viral diseases that could be recognized as such -- influenza, rabies, polio, etc. Retroviruses were essentially undectable using methods developed before the biotech boom of the last few decades.

Even now, new viruses are discovered any time somebody goes looking for them. Most of them are harmless, some may even be beneficial. Conversely, diseases that currently mystify us -- autoimmune diseases, certain types of cancer -- may well have a viral trigger that we haven't stumbled across yet.


It's also possible, I suppose, that HIV existed as a geographically isolated and avirulent strain for its first few decades in human, until random mutation and global travel generated conditions for a more virulent strain to pop up. However, other types of SIV (simian immunodeficiency viruses, of which HIV-1 and HIV-2 are two) typically cause severe disease when they jump outside of their normal host species, so it's difficult to imagine that the first transition into humans didn't cause disease, as well.
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 07:50 am
@patiodog,
Well said, thanks, patiodog!

(Actually, theories that the SIV/HIV existed for quite some time have existed all time - I remember that we were taught such during my post-graduate courses in the 80's.)

0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  2  
Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 07:56 am
@patiodog,
excellent post, p_dog.
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Oct, 2008 08:26 am
@patiodog,
The elctron microscope is near the top of my list of the most important inventions in human history.

BBB
0 Replies
 
SYNRON
 
  -2  
Reply Sat 4 Oct, 2008 12:04 am
@Robert Gentel,
What a crock! Obama's pastor clearly stated that the Aids virus was invented by US scientists to keep the Black population down. The New York Times reported that 29 percent of blacks polled suspected that scientists deliberately created the AIDS to deliberately decimate the black population.

source--N.Y. Times Oct. 29, 1990 pp. B-6and B7
0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  0  
Reply Sat 4 Oct, 2008 12:16 am
@Merry Andrew,


Something like AIDS would have been noticed. Something is wrong with the picture.
hawkeye10
 
  0  
Reply Sat 4 Oct, 2008 12:19 am
@gungasnake,
really, how many people outside of those who live there care about africa??
0 Replies
 
patiodog
 
  2  
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 07:16 am
It would be interesting to see interviews with practitioners of indigenous medicine in subSaharan Africa interviewed to see if they were taught anything about AIDs-like illnesses in the past century...
0 Replies
 
SYNRON
 
  -4  
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 02:18 pm
@Merry Andrew,
That study is obvioulsy flawed, Merry Andrew, The true story, the one you won't hear unless you talk to the Reverend Wright and some of Obama's close inner city gangbanger friends, is that,as Reverend Wright intoned on that now famous film clip--White Doctors invented AIDS to inoculate blacks so that they could keep the black population from growing!
0 Replies
 
 

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